Nearness and distance: exploring the notion of indifference through the lens of Middle-Eastern traditional arts

Meysami, M 2019, Nearness and distance: exploring the notion of indifference through the lens of Middle-Eastern traditional arts, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Art, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Nearness and distance: exploring the notion of indifference through the lens of Middle-Eastern traditional arts
Author(s) Meysami, M
Year 2019
Abstract Nearness and Distance: Exploring the Notion of Indifference Through the Lens of Middle Eastern Traditional Arts is a practice-led research project that investigates and explores the notion of indifference, specifically a perceived growing global indifference towards the suffering of people dealing with issues related to and ramifications of recent wars and conflicts in the Middle East. The issue of indifference needs to be understood as a social phenomenon, embodied in complex social and psychological factors that influence individuals' helping behaviours. Considering the political climate in which wars are waged and the information about them is broadcast, this project also investigates the impact of political dynamics on conditioning people's responses to the plight of the war-affected in the Middle East.

Through studio explorations, this project examines how Middle Eastern traditional arts could be used for making new artworks that address the complex issues of wars and the suffering they inflict on people's lives. Informed by practical and theoretical explorations, I will argue that the misrepresentation of the Middle East and its people as violent and barbaric can be considered as a notable reason for the perceived global indifference to the outcome of wars and conflicts in this region. Opposing this misrepresentation, this project investigates the use of an alternative style of representation that does not reproduce negative perceptions of Middle Eastern people. Employing an alternative style of imagery drawing on the elegance and intricacy of Middle Eastern traditional arts, I hope to create new artworks that could go beyond the conventional representations of the wars and conflicts in the region which often portray violence involved in war explicitly and focus on the immediate, though significant, consequences of war, such as death and bloodshed. Instead, I endeavour to create artworks which offer insight into the longer-term and broader ramifications of war beyond the battlefield along with global indifference with which these ramifications are approached.

As indifference involves a lack of attention to, or looking away from, the suffering of others, the challenging task in this project was to discover a way of depicting suffering and not-seeing the suffering simultaneously. Through new artworks this project incorporates elements such as colourful materials and abstract patterns into repetitive patterns that speak of suffering to reveal distinct solutions for addressing the binary notions of suffering and indifference.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Art
Subjects Fine Arts (incl. Sculpture and Painting)
Keyword(s) Indifference
Persian Arts
Islamic Arts
Middle Eastern traditional arts
Middle East
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Created: Mon, 16 Dec 2019, 08:03:22 EST by Adam Rivett
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